7.4/10
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24 user 39 critic

Hour of Glory (1949)

The Small Back Room (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 23 February 1952 (USA)
As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Writers:

(novel), | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Milton Rosmer ...
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Joe
Walter Fitzgerald ...
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A.T.S. Corporal
Henry Caine ...
Sgt. Maj. Rose
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'Knucksie' Moran, - Barkeeper
Sam Kydd ...
Crowhurst - Door Sentry
...
Till
...
Pinker
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Storyline

The best bomb disposal officer during World War II was badly injured and is in frequent pain. He finds solace and relief from his pain in the whisky bottle & the pills that are never far away. A new type of booby trapped bomb push his nerves & resolution to the limit. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 February 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hour of Glory  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in March 1943. See more »

Goofs

A little over 75 minutes into the film, during the scene where the character of Sammy Rice trashes his sitting room, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen reflected in the empty picture frame in the foreground of the shot. See more »

Quotes

Susan: Where were you going Sammy?
Sammy Rice: I don't know.
Susan: A woman?
Sammy Rice: Maybe.
Susan: How about me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the cast list, Robert Morley is named only as "A Guest", in italics. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Tabrar
Performed by Ted Heath's Kenny Baker Swing Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I must have a drink. Ask me to have a drink woman.
2 July 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Small Back Room (AKA: Hour of Glory) is directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, with both adapting the screenplay from the Nigel Balchin novel. It stars David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins, Leslie Banks and Michael Gough. Music is by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Christopher Challis.

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps across coastline England, Sammy Rice (Farrar) will be tasked with learning the secret to disarming the deadly devices. But first he must beat his private battle with alcohol, his form of self medication due to the loss of one of his feet.

The Archers produce what is in essence a tale of redemption, it's a superbly mounted drama dripping with realism and infused with atmospheric black and white photography. It somewhat divided critics back on release, but that tended to be customary where Powell was concerned, who himself wasn't sure about the validity of this particular piece. Yet it finds Pressburger and himself on sure footings, returning to more grounded human dramatics, their willingness to explore the murky fallibility of mankind is a thing of bold and effective cinematic beauty.

The by-play between Farrar and Byron is sexually charged, but heart achingly poignant as well. The pic is at its best when these pair share scenes, the back drops to their troubled courting veering from vibrant (hope) to dour (despair), the latter always staged at Sammy's gloomy flat and the scene of a brilliantly filmed expressionistic nightmare that he suffers. Elsewhere various military types either stand tall or sit behind desks speaking in correct literary tones, their collective problem being that the pesky Germans have come up with a vile bomb tactic that needs addressing ASAP.

Can Sammy come through for not only the war effort, but also for his sanity? Watch and see, it's great film making across the board. 8/10


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